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'Midwest Queeritivities' to encourage constructive dialogue

They/Them art
Cedar Thomas, Untitled (Us), welded steel, 5.5’ x 6’ x1,’2018
Hands watercolor
Melissa Wilkinson, Hands, watercolor on paper, 24”x 30,” 2017

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Ruth Foster Gallery will present “Midwest Queeritivities” from Feb. 14-March 11. The gallery will be open from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m. Thursday evenings and 1-4:30 p.m. weekends. All Foster Gallery events are free and open to the public.

The American Midwest is perhaps most known for its heritage of agricultural and industrial prowess, yet often unmentioned are the plethora of progressive, diverse cultures and their inextricable impact on the overarching identity of the region. “Midwest Queeritivities” is an exhibit consisting of multimedia art and literary works that illuminate queer identities and their relationships to other cultures in the Midwest with emphasis on the following questions:

  • The Midwest has often been reduced by long-established stereotypes and the cultural homogenization of its people, landscapes, and traditions. How are these notions being challenged and reshaped in contemporary art?
  • Conversely, how have regionally specific elements, both cultural and otherwise, e.g., religious affiliations, gender expectations, rural/urban contrasts, political dispositions, climates and geographies impacted the local LGBTQ+ identities?
  • How are artists reimagining social, institutional and historical spaces to be more inclusive and representative of the Midwest’s increasingly dynamic peoples?

UW-Eau Claire has been recognized as the best LGBTQIA+ school in Wisconsin two years running by the Campus Pride Index as well as ranked No. 3 nationally by College Choice in their list of the top 50 best overall campuses for LGBTQIA+ students. The “Midwest Queeritivities” exhibit will be the first of its kind for the Foster Gallery. The exhibition was curated by faculty members Cedar Marie and Stephanie Turner and students Sarah Jo Ferraro, Kristina Tlusty and Adam Yarish.

Midwest Queeritivities Exhibition + Events:

Reception: Thursday, Feb. 27, 6-7:30 p.m. 

Live music by Free Garbage: Thursday, Feb. 20, 6-7:30 p.m.

Queer panel: "What's Sex (Gender, Race, Place, Love) Got to Do with It?" with Jeff Morin, William Chambers, Jonathan Rylander, Andy Adams: Friday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m.-noon. 

Live reading and open mic: Thursday, March 5, 6-7:30 p.m.

Reality
Lexie Bluhm, Reality, Acrylic and oil on panel 48"x72," 2017

Support for this exhibition has been provided in part by the Wisconsin Humanities Council, UW-Eau Claire's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the departments of art & design, English and music and theatre arts. 

About Wisconsin Humanities Council
The Wisconsin Humanities Council is a leading statewide resource for librarians, teachers, museum educators and civic leaders, who drive entertaining and informative programs using history, culture and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone. The Wisconsin Humanities Council also awards more than $175,000 a year over seven rounds of grants to local organizations piloting humanities programming. For more information on the Wisconsin Humanities Council, visit their website or connect on Facebook or Twitter.